Before Super Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, it is implied (during the second chapter's Twilight Syndrome Murder Case motive) that the two were friends during their years studying at Hope's Peak Academy.
During the events of the game, Mahiru sometimes seems offput by Ibuki's eccentric behavior, as well as her taste in music and shameless way of handling Mikan's clumsiness. However, they still consider one another friends. In the Japanese version of the game, Mioda refers to Mahiru by her first name, something she notably does for her friends. In return, Mahiru calls her 'Ibuki-chan.'
During the second chapter of the game, being prompted by the Twilight Syndrome Murder Case game, Mahiru invites all her friends featured in the game, Ibuki included, to speak with her, However, Ibuki does not attend this meeting.
At Hope's Peak, as seen in the Danganronpa 3 anime, Mahiru is still shown to dislike Ibuki's music, covering her ears during her performance at the school. However, during Hope Arc, Mahiru comes to Ibuki's rescue when she is targeted by one of the brainwashed snipers attacking Jabberwock Island, blinding them with a camera flash as they target the performing Mioda. In return, Ibuki gives the photographer a heartfelt high five. The anime ends with the two of them, alongside Mikan Tsumiki, spending time together on a ship.
The ship sailed due to Mahiru and Ibuki's friendship, which appears consistently throughout the games and anime. It was only fueled by Mahiru's rescue of Ibuki during Hope Arc, and the latter's positive and friendly response. The ship is often overshadowed by Mahiru's more popular ship with Hiyoko.
- Ibuki's relationship with Mahiru on Danganronpa Wiki
- Mahiru's relationship with Ibuki on Danganronpa Wiki
- Koizumikioda refers to the ship between Mahiru, Ibuki and Mikan